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Volunteers Care For Birds At NYC Wildlife Rehab Center

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Tens of thousands of birds are killed every year in the Big Apple, but a new facility is working to reduce those numbers.

The Wild Bird Fund spread its wings and found a new nest at Manhattan's Upper West Side - New York City's only wildlife rehabilitation center for birds.

At the new Columbus Avenue facility, CBS 2's Dave Carlin met Ernest, a pheasant brought in with a broken foot, leg and pelvis after being hit by a car, Woody the Wood Duck who was attacked by a dog in Brooklyn, and a pigeon aptly named "Crash."

"He actually crashed into my window. He had a broken wing," said Samantha Colon of North Bergen.

"They are flying through. This is their ancient flyway and they go smashing into the skyscrapers we built right on their path," said Rita McMahon, co-founder of the Fund.

The Fund's volunteers helped save 1,500 birds last year, nursing them back to health in people's homes, or in a corner of a cramped animal hospital.

Now there is space with special bird cages and a rehabilitation pool.

"We're hoping we won't have to turn any birds away," said McMahon.

Carlin witnessed volunteer Joey Luther in action, rescuing a pigeon tangled and stuck upside down near the top of a tree in Midtown.

He flagged down City Sanitation workers, who parked their truck in just the right spot for Luther to climb up and get the bird.

"We ended up beating the branch out of the tree to get the bird and as you can see the bird was tied up with string," said Luther.

He named the bird Dan who two days after being rescued was still a bit wobbly.

Dan was on the mend and the volunteers planned to release him back into the wild, otherwise known as busy Ninth Avenue, sometime next week.

"We have wildlife here and it's our obligation to protect them," Luther said.

A fundraiser was set for April 3 to help the non-profit group get an operating table and other medical equipment.

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